Fair Board Evicts 42-Year Tenant, TelPhil Enterprises, Owner of the OC Market Place

Categories: OC Fair View
Jeff_Teller.jpg
John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
Teller took over the family business, which was started in 1969.
Though they call it a necessary business decision, yesterday's vote by the OC Fair & Event Center board of directors feels a bit personal. The 6-3 vote terminates a lease, which happens from time to time. But this particular lease was with Jeff Teller and TelPhil Enterprises, which has run the weekend OC Market Place (or swap meet) for 42 years at the Orange County Fairgrounds, and is the same company which brought a lawsuit against the sale of the fairgrounds and was involved with the group (OC Fairgrounds Preservation Society) that identified the Fair Board's attempt to purchase the land using questionable means. TelPhil has 18 months to vacate.

"This was not unexpected," Teller told the Weekly. "It's repugnant to them that TelPhil played a part in exposing [the Board's] mastermind creation of an organization to take over fairgrounds themselves."

David Ellis, the chairman of OCFEC sees the situation quite differently.

"We don't care [about Teller's involvement with OCFPS], we don't care, we don't care," Teller Ellis said emphatically over the phone this afternoon. "We don't care that Jeff Teller and Bob Teller have the personality of barb wire. We care about the financial health of the organization. But when we have a vendor with de facto control of the property 46 weekends a year and they are not performing, we care a lot."

Kristina Dodge and the two new board members, Nick Berardino and Gerardo Mouet were the three dissenting votes.

The Fair Board cited TelPhil's failing business and repeated clashes with board members as justification for the vote. It was noted that revenue has declined over the past several years and that the board had already decreased the Market Place's rent from a minimum of $3.5 million (35 percent of gross sales) per year to a minimum of $2.5 million (25 percent) per year.

"Facts are sometimes uncomfortable things," Ellis said. "The facts are that [the Market Place] is a business in decline for a decade. [Controversial fairgrounds] sale or no sale, recession or no recession, it's a business that's in decline." 

The board will release a Request for Proposal (RFP) for other swap meet vendors to make a bid. Ellis said TelPhil will be able to involve itself in the bidding process if it chooses to do so.

While the Board maintained focus on the facts, Teller believes the move was primarily a means to "retaliate" for his refusal to support the sale of the fairgrounds, and that the decision  was "predetermined." Interestingly, representatives from Delaware North Companies, a company which previously bid to host a swap meet at the fairgrounds, was in the audience to speak to the Board.

Prior to the meeting, lawyers from both sides had exchanged fiery letters attempting to set up a meeting to discuss the current business deal. When the meeting finally occurred, "the only item of discussion was the amount of overpayment of sweeping charges and the irregularites in billing and inconsistencies in billing records," Teller said.

Teller indicated that his company is "evaluating all of [its] options" in regard to legal action. 

"We're not a group that wants to threaten anything," Teller said. "But in order to protect our business and our [1,500] vendors and the publics interest we're considering the options."

As Teller left the meeting, Ellis said, "Let the lawsuits begin."
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10 comments
George
George

Isn't this the guy that is being investigated by the FBI in the Inland Empire?  Isn't this the guy that throws contracts out if he isn't cut in? Isn't this the man that loves kickbacks? THIS IS THE MAN THAT SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM THE OC FAIRBOARD.  HE IS TOXIC.  This is the man that makes a living destroying other peoples lives.  This is the guy that needs a high altitude.

Palmala Handerson
Palmala Handerson

It does seem a little jenky. But go there on a Sunday afternoon while they are wrapping the place up...It looks like a war zone!

Jasonanhm
Jasonanhm

this is typical of the powers that be.....when they are found out that they are doing something wrong, they get rid of the people that found it out.....i will never give money to the OC Fair & Event Center board..... their business practices can go to hell, alone with them...

mitch young
mitch young

I know fuck all about this issue, so was Witgenstein said" Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen".

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

I have been to the OC swap meet maybe 3 times in the past 20 years. This action does seem retaliatory to me. Who is this Delaware North Company? Sounds like some out of state outsourcing outfit.  Are the Fair Board members elected with any responsibility to voters or community or are they political appointees given a handout in exchange for favors or contributions? They talk about a decline in revenue from the swap meets, but they seem to forget everyone in the state has been losing income and have less to spend... Sounds to me like all the corrupt old board members need to be replaced... were Berardinos questions ever answered?

Sarah's Smile
Sarah's Smile

with looks like that who cares what his personality is like, he is a total HOTTIE ! I'll be at the swap this weekend.Is he single? 

time out
time out

Why is it no surprise to any observer that the stench of Dave Ellis is once again in another scandal  and he then makes a feeble attempt to attack the personality of these local business leaders who started this enterprise and who he now wants to steal it from.What has been going on with this fairboard is a textbook lesson in ill gotten power and the corruption it breeds,maybe its time for a responsible adult to put an end to this crap once and for all.

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

I hardly ever went to the fair swap meet, but suddenly, the idea that it would be gone makes me crestfallen. 

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